This is an induced accident where a fraudster intentionally causes a traffic accident, just to make a string of insurance claims afterwards. Fraudsters use this to then claim for a wide range of false costs, such as: exaggerated damage to their vehicle, exaggerated injuries to themselves and even injuries to multiple passengers who were not actually in the vehicle at the time. These scams are sometimes also called “Crash-for-cash”.
Who does this affect?
As fraudsters target innocent unknowing motorists, this could affect any driver on the road. Typically, they will target lone drivers, or commercial goods vehicles. Lone drivers present only one witness to counter the fraudsters story and commercial vehicles are guaranteed to have valid insurance, making them more appealing to scammers.
What should I look out for?
- A vehicle suddenly braking in front of you, trying to cause you to drive into the back of their vehicle, or deliberately driving in your blind spot when you are parking or pulling out, or any other means of causing an accident on purpose.
- You might spot any suspicious, unusual or evasive behaviour by the other driver after the accident. This could be the driver and passenger changing places in the vehicle once an accident has occurred. Do remember innocent people can act unusually after being involved in a genuine car accident, due to stress and shock.
How do I report this type of fraud?
If you have any concerns or suspicion about how an accident happened or the behaviour of the other people involved be sure to tell us right away, or any other insurers involved. This is a vital piece of information that can trigger us to investigate an accident for fraud. We have found cases to be fraud in the past due to the eagle-eyed vigilance of our policyholders.
A real example:
One of our policyholders was unfortunate enough to be targeted by a fraudster, who engineered an induced accident, in the car park of a supermarket. The scam worked by waiting for our policyholder to return to their car after shopping and began reversing out of their parking space. The fraudster then quickly positioned their own car into the blind spot of our policyholder, whilst they were looking the other way. This caused our policyholder to reverse at slow speed into the fraudster’s car.
The initial trigger here was that our Policyholder let us know they felt the accident was suspicious. Our fraud team then commenced an investigation and found the fraudster had given false personal details when making the insurance claims. By good Detective work, our investigator then found the CCTV footage, and could see this was an intentionally induced accident. A long and in-depth investigation took this matter all the way to Court, as the fraudster refused to drop their claim, and maintained their innocence. Eventually the judge was so sure this was fraud they came to a finding of Fundamental Dishonesty. This meant the fraudster had to pay all the legal costs for the case as well as being denied any of the amount they expected to claim.
This was a Civil Court case, so did not involve the police. But it is not uncommon for these cases to subsequently be prosecuted by the police, and fraudsters can then also face a fine or prison.
If you hear of people or businesses involved in setting up these scams, but not related to a claim you are involved in, contact Cheatline, to make a confidential and anonymous fraud report. This is an insurance industry service, so the message will get to the insurance companies involved, its free and you can report anonymously.
Call Cheatline 0800 422 0421 or for more info or to report insurance fraud online.